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Speeding in Residential Areas

NCJ Number
Michael S. Scott
Date Published
August 2001
49 pages
This guide addresses the problem of speeding in residential areas, one of the most common sources of citizen complaints to the police.
Speeding in residential areas makes citizens fear for children's safety; makes pedestrians and bicyclists fear for their safety; increases the risk of vehicle crashes; increases the seriousness of injuries to other drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and bicyclists struck by a vehicle; and increases noise from engine acceleration and tire friction. Each police agency must analyze the problem of speeding in residential areas in its own jurisdiction. This guide poses questions that should be addressed in such an analysis. The questions are listed under the following topics: crashes and complaints, speeder characteristics, locations/times, and current responses. The guide also lists potentially useful measures of the effectiveness of responses to speeding in residential areas. A range of responses to speeding in residential areas are then reviewed. Some engineering responses described are traffic "calming" (road and environmental design changes that make it more difficult to speed or make drivers believe they should slow down for safety); and posting warning signs and signals. Education responses include conducting anti-speeding public awareness campaigns, informing complainants about actual speeds, and providing realistic driver training. Enforcement responses include enforcing speeding laws, enforcing speeding laws with speed cameras, using speed display boards, arresting the worst offenders, and having citizen volunteers monitor speeding. Responses that have proven to have limited effectiveness are to reduce speed limits, increase fines and penalties, erect stop signs, install speed bumps or rumble strips, and the re-engineering of vehicles. 50 notes, 18 references, and appended summary of responses to speeding in residential areas